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More about “Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy”


Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention

Principal authors/editors: Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte
with contributions by 41 other authors

This Thematic Study is a joint venture between ICOMOS, the advisory body to UNESCO on cultural sites, and the International Astronomical Union. It presents an overall vision on astronomical heritage, attempts to identify what constitutes “outstanding universal significance to humankind” in relation to astronomy, and identifies broad issues that could arise in the assessment of cultural properties relating to astronomy. This is the first Thematic Study in any field of science heritage. It is elaborated using examples of properties from around the world, including some already on the World Heritage List or national Tentative Lists.

The subject matter ranges from early prehistory to modern astrophysics and space heritage, and also prominently includes dark sky issues and modern observatory sites. 

An e-book version of the Thematic Study was published in June 2010 in time to be presented to the 2010 meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, where it was duly approved. It has been circulated officially by the WHC to all of UNESCO's National Commissions.

This limited full-colour paperback edition was completed in 2011 thanks to financial sponsorship by the International Astronomical Union..


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List of Contents

Introduction. Michel Cotte and Clive Ruggles
Chapter 1: Earlier prehistory. Michael Rappenglück
  Case Study 1.1: The Thaïs bone, France
  Case Study 1.2: The decorated plate of the Geißenklösterle, Germany
  Case Study 1.3: The Ishango bone, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  Case Study 1.4: The astronomical rock panels in the Lascaux Cave, France
Chapter 2: Later prehistoric Europe. Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 2.1: Stonehenge World Heritage Site, United Kingdom. Amanda Chadburn
  Case Study 2.2: Seven-stone antas, Portugal and Spain
  Case Study 2.3: The stone circles at Odry, Poland. Stanisław Iwaniszewski
Chapter 3: Pre-Columbian America. Stanisław Iwaniszewski
  Case Study 3.1: Boca de Potrerillos, Mexico. Stanisław Iwaniszewski and William Breen Murray
  Case Study 3.2: Caguana, Puerto Rico. Angel Rodriguez
  Case Study 3.3: Chankillo, Peru. Ivan Ghezzi
  Case Study 3.4: The metallurgical centre of Viña del Cerro, Chile. Ricardo Moyano
Chapter 4: Indigenous uses of astronomy. Jarita Holbrook, Stephen McCluskey and Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 4.1: Navajo star ceilings, USA. Stephen McCluskey and Von Del Chamberlain
  Case Study 4.2: Atituiti Ruga, Mangareva, French Polynesia. Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 4.3: Wurdi Youang, Australia. Ray Norris
Chapter 5: Ancient and medieval Far East. Shi Yun-li and Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 5.1: Taosi observatory, China. Xu Fengxian and He Nu
  Case Study 5.2: Dengfeng observatory, China. Xu Fengxian
  Case Study 5.3. Beijing ancient observatory, China. Shi Yun-li
  Case Study 5.4. Cheomseongdae observatory, Republic of Korea. Park Jeong Eun
Chapter 6: India. Subhash Kak
  Case Study 6.1: The Jantar Mantar at Jaipur, India. Michel Cotte
Chapter 7: Mesopotamia and the Middle East. John Steele
Chapter 8: Ancient Egypt. Juan Belmonte
  Case Study 8.1: The tomb of Senenmut at western Thebes, Egypt
  Case Study 8.2: The temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt
  Case Study 8.3: The temple of Hathor at Dandara, Egypt
  Case Study 8.4: The pyramids of Giza and related buildings, Egypt
  Case Study 8.5: Napata, Sudan, including the temples of Djebel Barkal and the Nuri necropolis
Chapter 9: The Classical World. Efthymios Nicolaidis, Giulio Magli and Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 9.1: The Pnyx, Athens, Greece. Michael Wright
  Case Study 9.2: The acropolis of Alatri, Italy. Giulio Magli
  Case Study 9.3: The Pantheon, Rome, Italy. Guilio Magli
Chapter 10: Islamic astronomy. Tofigh Heidarzadeh
  Case Study 10.1: The Maragheh observatory, Iran
  Case Study 10.2: Ulugh Beg’s observatory, Uzbekistan
Chapter 11: Medieval astronomy in Europe. Stephen McCluskey
  Case Study 11.1: Monkwearmouth–Jarrow, United Kingdom
  Case Study 11.2: The Baptistery of Parma, Italy. Manuela Incerti
  Case Study 11.3: Strasbourg cathedral, France, and astronomical time
Chapter 12: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century. Michel Cotte, Danielle Fauque and Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 12.1: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, United Kingdom. Rebekah Higgitt
  Case Study 12.2: The Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, Republic of South Africa. Ian Glass
  Case Study 12.3: Meudon observatory, France. Stéphane Le Gars
  Case Study 12.4: Mount Wilson observatory, USA. Gudrun Wolfschmidt and Clive Ruggles
  Case Study 12.5: The Einstein Tower, Potsdam, Germany. Gudrun Wolfschmidt and Michel Cotte
Chapter 13: The development of radio astronomy. Richard Wielebinski and Tom Wilson
  Case Study 13.1: The Stockert radio telescope, Germany. Richard Wielebinski
Chapter 14: Applied astronomy in modern times. Michel Cotte
  Case Study 14.1: The Struve geodetic arc, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, and Ukraine
Chapter 15: Space heritage. David DeVorkin and Mikhail Marov
Chapter 16: ‘Windows to the universe’—starlight, dark-sky areas and observatory sites. Cipriano Marín, Richard Wainscoat and Eduardo Fayos-Solá
  Case Study 16.1: Lake Tekapo – Aoraki – Mount Cook Starlight Reserve, New Zealand. Margaret Austin and John Hearnshaw
  Case Study 16.2: Eastern Alpine Starlight Reserve and Großmugl Starlight Oasis, Austria. Günther Wuchterl
  Case Study 16.3: AURA Observatory, Chile. Malcolm Smith
  Case Study 16.4: Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii, USA. Richard Wainscoat
  Case Study 16.5: Canarian observatories, Spain. Casiana Muñoz-Tuñón and Juan Carlos Pérez Arencibia
Conclusion – Astronomical heritage in the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention: developing a professional and rational approach. Michel Cotte and Clive Ruggles


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